British Chess Federation – The Chess Federation of England

What is currently known as the English Chess Federation or the ECF actually came to life as the British Chess Federation or BCF in 1904. A member federation of FIDE, the ECF is the primary governing chess organization in England.

The name “British Chess Federation” has actually been the subject of a fair amount of controversy over the years. The main point of contention regarding the name was that it implied that the BCF was the sole chess governing body in the entire United Kingdom, with jurisdiction over all the other territories. The truth is that Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the Channel Islands each had their own chess federations for many years, and many felt that the name “British Chess Federation” did not reflected this.

Certain sectors of the chess community however felt that “BCF” was an accurate enough term given that the organization was solely responsible for administering the British Chess Championship.

Nevertheless, the name of the organization would later be changed to the English Chess federation at the beginning of the 2005-2006 seasons, and the newly renamed organization inherited all of the BCF's assets and absorbed its personnel as well. The former BCF still exists to this day however, although it has effectively ceased all operations and exists merely for legacy purposes. The organization’s web site also retained the old URL and can still be found at, although it is now under the administration of the English Chess Federation.

Beginning in the 90s, the BCF was also involved in a campaign to acquire a company limited by guarantee status. This drive was undertaken with the goal of generating more sponsorship money for the association’s events, increasing the number of its members, and limiting their liability.

One of the most prestigious chess events that the British Chess Federation and later, the English Chess Federation was involved in was the hosting of the British Chess Championship, which has been held every year beginning in 1904. Aside from both world wars, the event has been held regularly since then. Today, the ECF is also responsible for the selection and the financing of the English chess team for the Chess Olympiad, which is held every two years.

The ECF also currently publishes grades for chess players that compete in affiliated competitions all over England. Players that wish to qualify for an ECF grade have two ways to go about it. First, they can pay an annual flat fee that automatically makes them a member of the ECF. Beginning in 2005, chess players in England could also be graded through a local Membership Organization.

In areas of England where MO's do not exist or are not required–as in many parts of the South for example–non-members are required to pay a Game Fee for each competitive game that they play. In addition, they are not considered full ECF members.

The English Chess Federation currently publishes “Chess Moves” magazine, which is available for free to all the federation’s members.